The tagline for our charity is ‘working hand in hand to beat poverty’ because it is through the close relationships and communication that we have with our friends in Malawi that ensures that every penny gets to where it is most needed and ensures that hundreds of children’s lives are being transformed.
The Dalitso Project has been working in partnership with Aquaid lifeline for 12 years. From the massive fundraising effort for our first trip in 2007 and we were able to build 2 day care and orphan residences in the Thyolo and Kambilonjo communities.
As a charity we fund these centres that care for over 300 children and provide jobs for almost 30 staff. At both our centres we provide food daily to children from nursery age to end of secondary school, paying school fees where appropriate. To ensure our children have the best possible start we employ teachers to provide extra classes and have trained our nursery staff to more confidently and effectively teach our younger children. At Thyolo we have built a classroom and library to ensure this aim is realised. 12 years on we are beginning to see our children move through further education and look towards graduating with jobs that will allow them to provide for their families. This includes a nurse, accountant, teacher and even a doctor to name a few, as well as skill training like bricklayers, electricians and carpenters.
Our regular fundraising back in Arbroath and the surrounding area allows us to send a container once or twice a year and has built a number of houses and drilled several boreholes. Just last year our Kambilonjo borehole went dry and an online campaign raised over £5000 from people as far as Turkey and the USA in just a couple of weeks. Each year in response to the unpredictable weather and the impact this has on the growing of maize we provide Maize Relief. This allows our staff and guardians of our children to buy maize at an affordable cost when required and when often the price is too high for the average Malawian.
At the Thyolo centre, due to the close proximity of Thyolo District Hospital we run an Infant Rescue Programme that cares for 50 children up to the age of 2 years. This part of the project provides for babies orphaned at birth monthly formula, porridge, soap, sugar and clothes. Our first babies are now 10 years old and progressing well through school. Also at Thyolo we have opened a shop, providing employment for some of our older girls. This allows the centre itself to bring in money to develop their provision and encourage sustainability.
At Kambilonjo our main focus in this extremely rural part of Malawi is health care and skills training. In November 2018 we opened the Dochas Medical Centre. Dochas means 'Hope' in Gaelic. This is providing affordable health care in a community that is situated 1hr 30mins from the nearest hospital down an extremely bad road. We also are in the process of opening the Mary Spink Skills Training Centre. This has been an aim for this centre as our children grow up and finish formal education. Not all children are academic so it is hoped that by providing skills training in Welding, Knitting, Tailoring and Computer skills our children will be able to access skilled jobs and again be able to provide for their families. These will also be available to the community for affordable rates.
In order to fund this work we fundraise and also run a sponsor child programme where people get the opportunity to send letters and presents twice a year and receive letters, photos and school reports from their child in return. These presents for many of the children will be the only gifts they receive all year. This has allowed the local community to be really involved in the work in Malawi with some now part of our management committee.